26/06/2013

MEET THE ARTISTS - CATHERINE SCOBLE

As one of the most respected Hair & Makeup Designers in British tv & film drama (and one of two of my personal makeup icons) this is the interview I've been most excited about. You probably haven't heard of Catherine Scoble but I guarantee you have seen her award winning work. Among Catherine's long list of drama, commercials (British Airways, Playstation, Adidas, McDonalds) and feature film credits, Catherine was the hair & makeup designer for the brilliant Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as my favourite film series, This Is England. The hair and makeup in all TIE is phenomenal and Catherine's attention to detail in getting the design of the eras spot on is impeccable, probably why she had an RTS nomination for Best Makeup and won a BAFTA for Best Makeup and Hair Design for TIE 86, plus an RTS and BAFTA nomination for Best Makeup and Hair Design for TIE 88. I highlight the hair & makeup in all TIE as my favourite, most inspiring work and the job I would most like to have been a part of so I am thrilled Catherine sat down to tell me about her career, as well as sharing some of her professional tips.



MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
CS: I completed a course in Film and TV Makeup at Greasepaint makeup school in Ealing, West London and prior to that I did a three year course in hairdressing at Oxford College Of Further Education which was pretty intense, we were taught cutting, colouring, perming and barbering as well as wig making and how to knot facial hair. Greasepaint got me my first job where I worked at the brilliant Theatre Museum in Covent Garden which sadly is no longer there. My job was to put makeup on visitors, mostly school children, and I loved it, it was great fun and I got paid! Around that time Greasepaint also put me in touch with The Royal College of Art who train film directors, producers and art directors. The students have to produce a short film and I was hired in as makeup artist on several projects and this was a such a great break for me. I learnt everything..how to break down a script, how to work with actors, where to stand on set, when to do my checks and also how a film set works, who does what and how long it all takes! Before then I knew how to put make up on people but being on set was a steep learning curve!

From these student films I established some lasting friendships and some good contacts that then lead to more work. I took any job that came in, paid or not, I wanted to get out there and work. During these early days I worked extremely hard and was incredibly focused on my career, boyfriends were very much secondary and my family often moaned that they never saw me. On one low budget job the producer and I got on very well and she remembered me a few months later when a friend of hers was looking for makeup designers on his new film, I went for the interview and was lucky enough to get the job. That producer was Matthew Vaughn and The Innocent Sleep was my first feature film as Makeup and Hair Designer. About a year later Matthew called me about his next job which was Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. After the success of that film I found many more jobs and great opportunities came my way.


MANW: You mainly design the hair & make-up for TV dramas or feature films, did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
CS: I mainly work in film and tv but in the early stages I tried as many aspects of makeup that I could to find out which area I preferred and which I was more suited to. I worked in fashion and beauty for a while but it was when I got a script in my hands that I knew film and television was where I wanted to work.

MANW: Do you have a preference of hair or makeup?
CS: Although I trained in both hair and make up I prefer makeup to be honest. I am really happy when I'm doing blood, wounds, scars and tattoos, character makeup is my favourite thing. 


MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and make-ups you like to do, ie: blood and effects, straight makeup or period dramas?
CS: I choose the work I do based on the quality of the script. I usually get work that contains blood and wounds etc. but if the script is good then I am happy. I do like to be kept on my toes and to be challenged so if there are some interesting makeups or special effects then that's even better.

MANW: What is the process of creating a characters look and how much say do you have in the designs?
CS: I absolutely love the process of creating a character's 'look'. I read the script over and over to really get it in to my head, then I'll think about it and think about it whilst I'm doing stuff like taking the children to school or doing the washing up and going on the tube, I let the character sink in a bit I guess. At this point I will also start my research, I will collate images and begin doing sketches. I really like to use pencil and water colours as I find it really helps me to get what is on my head down on paper, It helps me and helps directors understand what I am suggesting too. I also put together mood boards. Then I'll meet the director and the actor and take on any suggestions they may have. The best thing is when we all have our say and really the best ideas come out of collaboration. One of the most important things we can do as makeup designers is to listen, really listen to actors and directors. You have to be open to ideas, you need to be able to understand why an actor may be saying something or why a director is asking for something. I do use my instincts when I'm creating a look too, I trust my instincts so I have no qualms in suggesting my ideas and sometimes even gently persuading people that they should go with what I'm suggesting. 

This Is England was a really enjoyable design process. The film was set in 1983 and centered on a gang who were mainly part of the skinhead movement, so tattoos and haircuts were a very important part of the makeup design. I spent a long time sourcing archive footage and photographs from that era. For Combo,the character played by Stephen Graham, I thought about his background and where he had been before we met him. I designed tattoos that were older than others, some that were 'homemade' and then some that looked more professional so there were layers rather than just a set of brand new looking tattoos. I spent a couple of days at the oldest tattoo parlour in Soho, London, as well as watching the artists at work I was able to look through their archive of tattoos so that I could see what tattoos looked like from various decades. We also decided that his hair should be shaved 'to the bone' to help make him look even more intimidating. Shane Meadows likes very much to collaborate and be around for the hair and makeup process so we reached all final looks for the film and both TV series with him there. Of course I also have to consider the actor as I mentioned previously. Quite often they know their character better than anybody else and it's really important that they feel comfortable and that they believe in the look that you've given them.

MANW: How much do logisitcal issues come into play with character designs, such as Joe Gilguns Tattoos in TIE. ie. how much of a discussion was there for him to go home with visible swastikas every day for months on end or did you have to do them fresh every day?
CS: I think when you're doing makeup for anybody on a film on TV drama you have to consider that outside of that job they are people and they want to do normal things so I would never expect, for example, Joe Gilgun to walk around with tattoos on his face when he's not on set. The tattoos on his face were painted by hand each morning as was the same with Stephen Graham.

MANW: You have worked on legendary films and with some legendary people like Jeremy Irons, Shirley Bassey, Amanda Donohue and Forrest Whittaker, can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
CS: Apart from winning the BAFTA Craft Award for my work on This Is England '86, which was an incredible honour, there have been some memorable moments at work. Flying to Monaco to make up Roger Moore was pretty special, as was cutting Stings hair in a tiny stationary cupboard on Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and working on a commercial for the BBC that featured all my comedy heroes including Spike Milligan, Stephen Fry, The Two Ronnie's and the cast of The Fast Show and A League Of Gentlemen. 


Something I'll never forget is working on the fight scene between Vicky Mclure and Johnny Harris on the series This Is England '86. When you work with Shane Meadows you go on a journey with the cast & crew and at that point we were all so involved with the characters, as the action unfolded it was so nasty, so violent and so real that it was hard not to be affected by what we were witnessing. It is something I will always remember. Having Ian Brown from The Stone Roses in my makeup chair on that same job was also pretty unforgettable! More recently, seeing 80 children wearing Hank Marvin wigs on a tv ad that I designed was very satisfying, especially after we won a Golden Arrow for Best Hair and Make Up at The 2013 British Advertising Awards!

MANW: You've been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
CS: I think the film and television industry is pretty much the same as it was when I started but there are a couple of differences, there are many more make-up schools now and so there are so many more make-up artist than ever before. Also I think budgets have got tighter and we have to be much more resourceful with our money. My advice for anyone starting out now would be to take every job opportunity that comes your way, you can't wait for people to call you, you have to get out there and get known. It's an incredibly competitive business, you have to be exceptionally determined and be prepared to work hard to succeed.

MANW: All artists have 'the wish list'; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on? I think we've established mine is This is England. Who or what are yours?
CS: Some of the films that inspired me to want to be in the business are Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction, Alien, The Silence Of The Lambs, The Elephant Man, Edward ScissorHands, I could go on and on. More recently Let The Right One In, The Fighter, Argo, Les Miserables and The Impossible, all of these films had brilliant hair and make up. My current favourite film makeup is Behind The Candelabra, it's so brilliant, Michael Douglas & Matt Damon have amazing wigs, makeup and prosthetics.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
CS: On a long drama or film it's all about the skincare regime, you have to make sure you are looking after your actors skin. Moisturiser and primer are key for your base to look good and foundation is the one area where you really need to spend to get a top quality product. I like to apply foundation with a brush and then work it in with a latex or natural sponge and I use the smallest amount of powder possible. I try not to add powder on top of powder on set and prefer to use blotting papers.
If I don't think a base is needed (particularly on men) then I will just use a moisturiser and maybe something like Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. I love to see the texture of the skin, I'm not very keen on thick makeup at all. If it's been a long shooting day I mist the makeup with Evian water to bring it back to life or I will remove all the makeup and reapply (if there is time of course!) 


MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products?
CS: Le Maquillage palettes, I LOVE these and can't be without them. I use them as foundation, for colour correcting, bruising, illness and corpses! Evian water spray, Soothing eye drops, Skin illustrator sfx palette, Bluebird hair palettes (low lights especially good), Mae Kup dried blood (dark) and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm-an old favourite.

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
CS: My best makeup artist tip is always - less is more, don't pile it on and try and look at your makeup in daylight. 

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
CS: False eyelashes are great, lash extensions can be very effective too. But maybe there are enough celeb endorsed false lashes now!?


To find out more about Catherine you can see her imdb page here or follow her on twitter.

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